In the Press

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Press Contact:  Denise Barnack – denise [at] sitkittysit [dot] com

6.7.18  Reno News and Review – Rock Pianist 

Kat Downs is a pianist, vocalist and songwriter who makes up half of the San Francisco hard-rock duo Sit Kitty Sit, along with drummer Mike Thompson. After their 2014 release, Everlasting Fire, Downs experienced a string of difficulties—among them a cancer scare, divorce and depression. The aftermaths of these experiences are distilled in the duo’s new album, Tectonic. Sit Kitty Sit plays June 9 at Pignic.

When you first got together in 2010, how did you decide to play rock with no guitar?

I had been working on a solo album where every song was in a different genre, and I asked [Mike Thompson] to play with me on one song. I had always wanted to hear what it would sound like if you added theatrical prog metal drumming to Rachmaninoff. And I tried to find that. … I couldn’t find it, so I was like, “Well crap, now I have to write it,” so I did. It was just supposed to be a one-off thing. That was the song “The Push.” We played together so naturally that we kind of freaked each other out. And then, about nine months or so later, I had gone though the rest of my library. And I realized that … my style of writing just fit that double-percussion thing so well, that I reached out and asked him if he wanted to continue that experiment.

Did either one of you come from a classical background?

Yes, I started studying when I was six, and piano was my main instrument until high school, and I started playing flute in fourth grade, and flute was my major instrument in both high school and college. So I’m actually a classically trained flautist.

You’ve gone through some difficult times. What’s it been like processing those and incorporating them into your work?

Basically, I sat down and talked with Mike first. I knew it was time for us to put out a record, but there was just nothing there. You know how it is when you have someone you’re working with all the time. It’s not just one conversation. It’s one conversation that lasts like a month. So, we had sat down at one point with a piece of paper. We were still kind of coming out of it at that point, so stuff was still pretty raw. It was like, “What do you remember? What pops off the page at you when you scan back through that part of your life?” And we basically just wrote down all the emotions that we felt. There was rage—more than once. That’s why there’s more than one song about rage. It’s like, you’re very angry, and then you chill out for a while, and then you get angry again, so, that was how we did it.

Stress and productivity are a pretty tough combination. It sounds like you just decided to keep up the pace and work. Is that how you went about it?

Yes. Up to that point we had been putting out a record every two years. It was just a personal goal of ours. No one was holding us accountable. It was just us. But we were already a year late. We knew that … having something to focus on would kind of keep the train moving. … It took like an extra year to put the record out. That’s why there was a four-year gap between this record and that one.

Have you built fan bases in other cities besides San Francisco?

Oh! Reno! Absolutely. Our fan base in Reno is—they’re ecstatic people. I think how it happened is, we used to basically start and end most of our national tours in Reno. So, we ended up getting this very family-esque following there, which is really cool. We’ve been on the Worst Little Podcast three or four times now. We recorded at Dog Water Studios with Rick. That whole thing was recorded in Reno. It’s like our home away from home.


5.28.2018  Music Street Journal – Interview with Sit Kitty Sit

MSJ:
It’s been about seven years since we interviewed you at Music Street Journal. What things have been going on in the world of Sit Kitty Sit?
 
Kat Downs:  Tectonic will be our fourth album – so, a lot!  We’ve toured all over the US as well as in Europe, released a bunch of music videos and a few singles, as well.
Mike Thompson:  Yes, it’s been quite the journey since we last connected with you.  The rollercoaster of life has hit us from every direction both as a band and in our own personal lives, which has provided a constant stream of inspiration for us to purge our experiences both good and bad.      
 
MSJ: Your upcoming album has a song about suicide. What can you tell us about that song, and what your thoughts are on this important topic?
 
Kat Downs: The song is called “Paper Doll.”  To me, the music is more important than the lyrics of this piece.  I wrote what my body felt like while I was in the deepest part of my suicidal depression.  The lyrics are more shallow because that’s also what it felt like at the time.  Everything was an act….fake….papery.  It’s not a literal translation – but to me it completely captures the feeling.
I find it silly that suicide is such a taboo topic.  So many people experience suicidal depression and nine out of ten of them feel that it’s totally inappropriate to speak about it out loud.  Why?  I know it’s scary for some people to grasp someone not wanting to be alive anymore, but if a person feels that way they should  talk about it.  And it doesn’t even have to be that big of a deal.  My therapist was so chill when I told her I was suicidal.  She took all the right steps and went through all the protocol, but she was completely calm about it like it was any other day.  The friends I have in my inner circle – we’ll text each other.  The deal is it’s okay to feel that way, but when you do, you have to tell someone.  So every once in a while I will get or send a text that says “feeling suicidal this morning,” and the response is always a very calm, “Thanks for telling me.  I love you. Let me know if you need anything.”  I think if most people were more calm about it, then people on the brink would be more willing to ask for help because they wouldn’t feel like they were being treated like they’re crazy.  You’re not crazy.
 
MSJ:
What’s the best thing that’s ever been said about your music?
 
Kat Downs: That it was a religious experience.  We’ve been lucky enough to hear that a lot over the years from a wide variety of people all across the world.  It’s very humbling and inspiring to hear.
Mike Thompson:  Agreed.  Inevitably, any time we play in front of a new audience we’ll hear “wow, you produce so much power for only two people!”  And that’s usually said with an air of relief in their voice. So unexpected but so relieving to them.  I love that.
MSJ:
What’s ahead for you?
 
Kat Downs: Touring to promote Tectonic as well as more music videos based on its songs. We’ve got a busy two years ahead of us!  We’ll also be releasing some more new tunes for our -Patrons on Patreon.com/katdowns
Mike Thompson:  Yeah, it’s been four long years since our last full-length release, so we have a lot of time to make up for.  But this record is such a force, it will only be a pleasure to work that much harder to support it.
 
MSJ:
What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
 
Kat Downs: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Paul Simon. He is hands down one of my favorites, and since putting out an album is a lot of stress I’m going back to what comforts me lately.  (laughter)
Mike Thompson:  The last album I downloaded was Wrong Creatures by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, which I love.  As far as last physical CD I bought?  I honestly can’t remember. All my recent acquisitions have been in trade with bands we do shows with.  
 
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
 
Kat Downs:  Yes absolutely.  I just re-read the first book of the Maze Runner series and remembered why I liked it in the first place.  I also got into the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss (almost done) and am diving in to American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  
Mike Thompson:  (laughter) Ohhh yeah… How to Make It in the New Music Business by Ari Herstand – essential read.
 
MSJ:
What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
 
Kat Downs:  Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  Mike took me as it’s one of his favorite bands, and I had a blast!
Mike Thompson:  Yes! That was a phenomenal show, as always with them.  And just before that I saw Queens of the Stone Age for the first time, which hit me right where I needed – super tight and straight to the throat.
 
MSJ:
Do you remember the first concert you attended?
 
Kat Downs:  The very first one?  Yes of course!  It was the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra.  My parents had season tickets.  I don’t remember which pieces were performed though.
Mike Thompson:  100 percent remember – Rush at Providence Civic Center.  I was 12 years old and had been playing drums for two years at that point.  My Dad (also a drummer) got us tickets as a Christmas present, and Neil Peart proceeded to melt my face and make me realize that was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
 
MSJ:
Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
 
Kat Downs:  I love doing more raw DIY recordings of my solo piano stuff, so I’ve just recently started experimenting with the Shure MV51.  I’m only getting started but I like it so far!
 
MSJ:
Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
 
Kat Downs:  Tectonic is all about the time span between our last album (Everlasting Fire) in 2014 and now when both Mike’s and my personal lives crumbled.  This album is the music I wrote to help both of us purge that experience, heal, and move on – turning a lot of negative into a positive.  We are extremely proud of this album!
Mike Thompson:  I think this is definitely the most emotionally raw material we’ve put out as SKS– incredibly hard to face straight on, but absolutely necessary to lay it all out on the line and conquer it.  At the end of the day this record is a testament to the power of the human spirit and I hope that it can be a source of hope and inspiration to others as it is to us.



5.13.2018 Music In SF – SF Local Band Spotlight: Sit Kitty Sit

How’d you come up with the name of the band?
Kat:  A friend of ours was making fun of the way I move around in my seat while I play the piano.  “Sit, Kitty. Sit still!” And the name was born. An ongoing joke is that my legs are the third member of the band.

How would you describe your sound?
Kat: We call it “hard piano rock,” like The Dresden Dolls mixed with PJ Harvey and a dash of Muse.

Mike: Imagine a tiger riding a Vespa …  Ferocious, yet gentle.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
Kat:  Since I started breathing I think, haha.  I don’t recall a time when I wasn’t completely enthralled with music. Even as a baby.

Mike:  At first when I was about 7 or 8, but that was short lived.  Then when I turned 10 I saw Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound of Thunder concert on video and that flipped a switch for me.  I really got into the drums and percussion and started taking private lessons from there.   My dad is also a drummer so it helped to have him show me a few pointers as I was learning the basics.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
Kat:  The mosh pit in front of us hit the microphone and it nailed me right in the mouth.  I was bleeding but just kept going, haha. It was pretty awesome.

Mike:  Haha, I remember that show.  It was in Reno and one of our first shows on the road.  There were like 5 people there making noise as if there were 500.  Epic. 

There have been quite a few bizarro shows along the way.  Like the time we played a hockey rink in Germany, or on a broken toy drumkit in the basement (dungeon) of a club in Paris, or a pretentious coffee shop in Colorado that kept telling us to “turn down” so much so that I had to stop playing all together, or maybe playing next to the buffet at a Chinese restaurant in Oregon.  Man, I love the road.

What are you listening to these days?
Kat:  Lately a lot of Paul Simon and dance music.  I’m also really into podcasts when I drive. Right now it’s My Favorite Murder and Last Podcast on the Left.

Mike:  Pretty much a constant stream of The Howard Stern Show.  Best interviews ever.

What’s your take on why so many musicians are leaving San Francisco for Oakland?
Kat: Cost of living first and foremost.  I got priced out of SF myself. I live down closer to Santa Cruz now and commute into SF two or three times a week for rehearsals and such.  It was sad to leave but it just got too hard to live on what a working musician makes. It’s still a real struggle. The folks I know that went over to Oakland aren’t having any easier of a time.  It’s rough out there.

Mike:  Nailed it.

What are some of your favorites hangs in the Bay Area?
Kat: For live music Bottom of the Hill and Amnesia are still my favorites.  We have had all four of our Record Release parties at Bottom of the Hill. It’s tradition!

Mike: Honestly, I don’t do all that much hanging anywhere anymore.  Between the day job and all the SKS work, it doesn’t leave for much free time.  If I find I do have the energy on nights I have free I’ll try and check out any one of the several shows my friends are doing at any given time.

What does music mean to you?
Kat:  Music is just me.  I don’t know life without it so it’s hard to say.  I constantly have music running through my head. When I’m lucky or have enough time I write it down and that’s what you hear on our albums.

Mike:  And thank God for that! Haha … Yeah, I may have had a 100 jobs in my lifetime but I’ve only ever identified as a musician.

How’d you guys first get together to play music?
Kat: We sort of officially met when a mutual friend of ours asked me to record some organ parts on an EP they were recording.  A few months later I had a recording project of my own where I needed heavy drums and ended up asking Mike if he could help me out.  We played together so naturally, it freaked us both out a bit.

Mike:  Yeah. It was only supposed to be one song and see ya later type thing.  I don’t think we even rehearsed the song together before going into the studio.  So naturally, when we unleashed hell outta nowhere we were both like “Uhhhh, what?!” Our engineer was equally perplexed.  Clearly, we were onto something.

What inspires you to write?
Kat:  Haha, everything and nothing?  I constantly have music running through my head and it took me a good while to learn how to just write it down without trying to edit it.  Sometimes I will purposefully write music to be “about” something, other times it’s just whatever was in there and sometimes. I don’t even know what the songs are about for a long time afterward.  It feels kind of like a love/hate relationship you would have with a sibling.

You just came out with a new album entitled Tectonic. What’s the meaning behind the title?
Kat:  Very soon after our last album came out in 2014 both of us started going through a bunch of tragedies in our personal lives.  It was just a really bad time. One blow after another that ended up lasting for years. When the sun finally started to come up Mike suggested we dedicate the whole album to purging all that negative stuff so we could move on.  Tectonic describes how what we went through changed us. Our tectonic plates have shifted. We are the same, but we are also different.

Can you describe the recording process for it?
Kat: Sure. We fine-tuned everything in our studio here in SF.  Figured out all the arrangements and such. Then we headed to Reno, NV for a week solid last September to record with Rick Spagnola at Dogwater Studios. We record everything live facing each other in the studio.  I sing at a fraction of my regular volume as a scratch vocal track with the keys going direct so we can capture Mike’s drums. Then if I need to go in and change my piano parts I do that to the playback of his drum tracks.  Vocals are always done last.

Mike:  Yup. Then comes my favorite part, piecing everything together and tweaking the mix and adding layers of piano or percussion.  I absolutely LOVE being in the studio, which is fortunate because Kat usually can’t wait to leave, haha.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you guys?
Kat: We were complete strangers when we started working together.  We didn’t hang in the same social circles or even have more than like 3 or 4 friends in common.  In fact, we were pretty much just work colleagues for the first 3 years that SKS existed. It wasn’t until we went on our first national tour in 2013 that we started actually talking to each other and became real friends.  Now we’re basically attached at the hip, Haha.

Mike:  Ha!! Yeah, I don’t think we really “met” until our first tour.  What a trip.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in the city and why?
Kat:  That’s a hard question to answer.  I have such good memories in so many of them.  The Tenderloin will always have a soft spot in my heart because that’s the first place I had my very own huge studio apartment and every day just going outside was an adventure.  Bernal Heights always feels like you’re escaping to a small town in Colorado for an afternoon. My first job in SF was in Hayes Valley which I still love even though it looks completely different now.  The Embarcadero, Cole Valley … the list goes on.

Mike:  I gotta go with North Beach on this one.  Being an Italian boy from the East Coast that neighborhood feels most like home.  The food is obviously great but I also love the underlying seediness and history of the neighborhood 😉

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
Kat: About me personally?  That I’m an introvert. I have to gear up to be around a lot of people and then afterward I need to be a hermit to recharge my batteries.

Mike:  I love opera.

Is there anything you’d like to plug?
Kat: Yes!  We just released an album. Please check out Tectonic on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes and all the usual places.  We also have our music video for the first single, “Paper Doll,” out on our Youtube Channel.

What’s next for Sit Kitty Sit?
Kat:  We’re hitting the road to promote the new album.  In June we’ll be in the Pacific Northwest, in July in the Wisconsin and Chicago-land area.  In August we’re heading down to SoCal and September in Texas, October in New England. All of that will be mixed in with a lot of fun Bay Area shows.  As dates are confirmed they’re all on our website and on Bandsintown.

Mike:  Onward through the fog!


4.18.2018 Vents Magazine – Sit Kitty Sit Faces Suicide in Music Video “Paper Doll”

Paper Doll is the first single and music video from Sit Kitty Sit’s fourth album,Tectonic.  The full album will release on May 4, 2018.   The video takes an excruciating look at the sensation of being suicidal – an emotional state where the mundane becomes menacing and day-to-day survival requires wearing a mask in public. Watch here

Shortly after the release of their third album, Everlasting Fire, Sit Kitty Sit’s lead vocal and pianist, Kat Downs, went through a seven-month suicidal depression.  Even having struggled with depression since her late teens, Downs was caught off guard by the intensity of the experience.  In her personal blog she described the feeling as “shattered”:  “Being Shattered means you don’t have any more to give…One more blow comes at you and instead of even raising your arms to defend yourself, you just let it hit you…You are in pieces you could never put back together. Like a light bulb that’s been stepped on.” […]


11.15.2017  Cryptic Rock – Drive Play Sleep Movie Review

If you live music, if you breathe art, if that certain spark in your eyes is connected to anything instrumental, you understand the hardships inherent in the life of a DIY touring musician where absolutely nothing is ever guaranteed – every day you drive, some days you play, and hopefully, occasionally, you sleep. Oh, and eat! Eating is nice! Drive. Play. Sleep. is a new Music Documentary that arrived to DVD and Digital HD on November 7, 2017 that is, like its creators’ music, independently-released with the help of its producer, Kyle Prohaska. An embrace of the lives of independent touring musicians that shares the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, this is a must see for anyone in a DIY band or anyone who breathes music.

Drive. Play. Sleep. is, first and foremost, the story of Pocket Vinyl, an independent, touring duo with four albums and several EPs to their credit. Comprised of married couple Eric Stevenson and Elizabeth Jancewicz, Pocket Vinyl place Eric on vocals and piano – holding down the musical fort, so to speak – while Elizabeth paints one-of-a-kind artistic creations during each performance that are auctioned off at the end of the night. Self-described “piano slam rock,” consider them a kind of Ben Folds with performance art sewn in, creating something that is aurally and visually stunning.

Married and touring for the past six years, this creative couple have played some 600+ shows throughout that time, with 138 of their performances occurring in the year that this documentary was filmed. In fact, the only continental U.S. states that have not seen a Pocket Vinyl performance are Nevada and Wyoming. That is a lot of mileage, painting, and song, my friends!

What this Documentary entails is an honest, unscripted and fair view of the lives of independent (no management, no booking agents, no merchandise people, no road crew, no frills!), touring musicians throughout the U.S.

For one year, Pocket Vinyl brought along a video camera to capture all facets of their lives on the road, and this unfiltered view through the eyes of the DIY musician covers a multitude of topics, from booking gigs to getting paid, surviving on the actual road (expenses, accommodations and food) to endless car troubles. They even discuss sexism throughout the industry, with many a female musician being mistaken for a merch girl or, worse yet, groupie. At all times, both Eric and Elizabeth are candid, honest, sincere, with Eric oft wearing his heart completely on his sleeve. As such, there are moments where, exhausted and teary-eyed, we see that being on tour is not glitz and glamour, but rather emotional hardship and physical fortitude.

Clocking in at roughly 86 minutes, Drive. Play. Sleep. was shot with a cheap home video camera and absolutely no budget. Much like the bands and music that it lovingly and passionately portrays, it is a no-frills presentation that does not claim superior cinematography or marvelous costuming, no. What you can expect are candid interviews peppered throughout the on-the-road footage, with independent musicians such as Jordan Doyle and Christian Holliday of Gaffer Project; Chris Viner and Sasha Alcott of When Particles Collide; Singer-Songwriter Timothy Ezekiel Bell; Saxophonist/Keyboardist Isaac Young; Singer-Songwriter Erica Wolfling of Ice Dragon; Tim Duly of TIMISAROCKER; Wellz of The Bastards of Fate; James Maple; Philip Wells of White Collar Sideshow; Kyle Anthony of Secretest Crush; Singer-Songwriter Daniel Amedee; Singer-Songwriter Alex Mendenall; Songwriter Daphne Lee Martin; Kat Downs of Sit Kitty Sit; James Reza of Brother Rabbit and Junfalls; Grant Buell of My Oh My!, KC Bear Fighters, and Good Time Charley; Arren Alexander, Isaac Hecimovich and Aaron David of Owls, Foxes and Sebastian; Christopher Bemis; Sharone Borik of Sharone & The Wind; Hana Maria and Mishkin Fitzgerald of Birdeatsbaby; Kate Dedinsky and Adam Grindler of The Baker’s Basement; Singer-Songwriter Justin Golden; and Jonathan Stevens of Eleventyseven. […]


9.3.2016   No Depression – Sit Kitty Sit Takes Over Fat Baby in New York

Sit Kitty Sit came into New York City like a storm on Saturday, September 3rd to play an ambitious show at Fat Baby. The notable duo of Kat Downs and Mike Thompson took to the stage like the pros they are, to put on a show that was instantly one of my favorite. Together Downs and Thompson are a whirlwind of force, as their eclectic sound of piano, drums and vocal, bring an interesting experience to life.

Steadily playing through their catalog of Indie-Rock hits, we heard crowd-pleasers such as “Birmingham” and “In the Morning,” mixed in with some newer jams of their recent single “Creeping,” and “Blood & Bones.” On stage, the duo brings everything to a whole new level, as their heavy-hitting playing struck a chord and resonated in my ears.

Sit Kitty Sit is a must-see if they’re headed to your town, so be sure to stay up to date via https://sitkittysit.com/shows/


8.30.2016   Vents Magazine PREMIERE – Sit Kitty Sit Release New Music Video For “Creeping”

San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people and not one guitar in sight.

Sit Kitty Sit’s latest album, Everlasting Fire is based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno.” The storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team.  Spanning seven genres and boasting 15 guest artists, the release shows us an entirely new side of the band while maintaining their identity.


8.11.2016   Worst Little Podcast – “Hot Karl Bach” Sit Kitty Sit August 11, 2016

Warning:  Not Suitable For Work


8.8.2016  Paste Magazine – Sit Kitty Sit Break Barriers with New Single, “Creeping

The San Franciso duo of Sit Kitty Sit has been breaking barriers the past several years, with their bold and prominent tones of classic Indie music.  The combination of Kat Downs on vocals and keys and Mike Thompson on drums bring an interesting and charming element to the table, as their unique blend of instrumentation sets them apart from the rest.  This afternoon we see the group debuting their new single, “Creeping,” to the delight of our ears.

The track showcases Downs’ vocals in a whole new light and sets a bit of a different manner for the duo.  Filling the space with thumping drums and an eclectic piano, we hear Downs’ vocals a bit softer than the group’s previous releases; really getting into the heart and soul of the lyrics.  Stunning background vocals fill the song as Downs’ voice picks up intensity with a growling and echoing element of surprise; their signature sound.  “”Creeping” explores the fulility of attempting to speak logically to someone who is mad.  It cannot be done, and in the end, only pushes you to madness as well.  Or in other words, you can’t talk sane to crazy”” says Downs.

“Creeping is bound to be one of your favorite songs for the Summer.  To boot, Sit Kitty Sit will be on the road this coming September, so be on the lookout!


4.20.2016   The Loudini Rock and Roll Circus Interview Edition featuring Sit Kitty Sit

Hosted by Lou Lombardi aka Loudini
San Francisco based Hard Piano Rock duo, Sit Kitty Sit, takes the stage. It’s a pretty girl in a cocktail dress and a handsome guy in black jeans. Simple. Unassuming. Armed only with piano and drums, this fiery team lets loose an expertly manipulated balance of blow-your-mind power rock and virtuosic intricacy that leaves audiences screaming.


4.2.2016   THE GOLDILOCKS CHORD – HOW SIT KITTY SIT FOUND A SOUND THAT SUITS THEM JUST RIGHT

San Francisco piano punks Sit Kitty Sit will play King Wah’s in Medford on Wed., April 13. Which is impressive, since they were never supposed to be a band, just a single song on pianist and singer Kat Downs solo album.

“Every song on the album was a different genre,” she says. “For one, I wanted to combine Rachmaninoff-style piano with thrash-metal style drumming.”

Downs says the inspiration for that song came from the desire to listen to something in that vein.

“I was trying to find another place to listen to it,” she says. “I was like, someone has to have done this. And I couldn’t find it. So I said I guess the only way I’ll be able to hear it, is if I write it.”

That single song wasn’t even supposed to include the other member of the duo, drummer Mike Thompson. She originally had another drummer lined up for the recording session. But he embraced that old drummer stereotype and flaked. Thompson took his place. And once the session was done, it was all the pair could think about.

Before long their classical meets classic rock blend was turning ears around the bay. It wasn’t long after that they hit the road across America and Europe.

The band doesn’t like to force its writing process, writing tunes in pieces as they come.

“We always want to make it sound like us, sound unique, sound fresh,” says Thompson. “With two people, it’s kind of hard to keep it sounding fresh. Because there’s only so much you can do.”

But the duo also admits that the new wave of technology offers them a lot of options to expand their sound they’re not taking advantage, instead, sticking purely to an acoustic piano and a drum kit.

“Certainly, we’re not opposed to adding samplers, or synthesizers,” says Thompson. “But the essence of this band is stripped down piano and drums. That’s what defines our sound. AC/DC didn’t change shit. The wrote the same fucking song for 50 years. If you find the right formula, then you can make it work.”

And they’re found the right formula with equal parts punk, cabaret, and classical. It’s almost impossible not to compare them to the Dresden Dolls or early Regina Spektor.

And that’s a sound the band says has always struck a chord when it plays in Medford.

“Make sure to mention that we LOVE Oregon,” says Thompson. “All our rowdiest fans are there. Hands down.”

11.6.2015   Huffington Post – Lost Soul – Reintroducing Bob Hillman, Chats with Peter Case, Maia Sharp and Ben Caplan, Plus Alphanaut, Sit Kitty Sit and Butchers Blind’s Exclusives

Kat Downs from Sit Kitty Sit…

“‘Superbia,’ meaning ‘pride’” was the first song written for the Everlasting Fire project. It was inspired by a visit to Venice, Italy during the high tide season, with the water at the same level as the sidewalks. I loved the romanticism of an emotional struggle while stuck in an ancient city that is slowly sinking. Everlasting Fire, of course, tells the story of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ which is his journey through hell. Pride being the worst of the seven sins, it’s actually incorporated into every single level all the way to the bottom where we find the devil frozen waist deep in a lake of his own tears. Deliciously creepy, isn’t it? ‘Life #6’ was actually inspired by a contest we held to name our tour van! The prize for the winner—The Prowler, best name ever—was to have a song written about them. I gave the winner a series of odd interview questions I gathered from several places online, and from her answers ‘Life #6’ was born. It opens the album representing the circle of ‘Limbo,’ which is where the souls of people who did not believe in God, but were otherwise perfectly delightful have to reside after they die. They can’t go to heaven, and they can’t go to hell, so they live in a garden remembering their lives. ‘Life #6’ seemed like the perfect fit—and honestly, it’s become one of ours, and our fans’, favorite songs at our live shows. The video was filmed via http://www.overitstudios.com.”


8.27.15  Worst Little Podcast “Working Without a Net” Sit Kitty Sit August 27, 2015

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4.28.2015  Ethnocloud – Getting to Know San Francisco’s Sit Kitty Sit

Sit Kitty Sit crosses rock and pop, with piano laden elements, creating a vibrancy and burst of light in the San Francisco scene. The duo of Kat Downs Gaudette and Mike Thompson provide a strong and powerful sound that is energetic and endearing. Their latest record, “Everlasting Fire,” has been a steady favorite of mine. With Kat’s gorgeous and in-your-face vocals and piano skills, she works in perfect unison with Mike’s heavy-hitting yet intricate drumming. Kat and Mike speak with us today about Sit Kitty Sit, which is an interesting read you will find below.

 

What is the meaning behind the name Sit Kitty Sit?

Kat- The name is actually making fun of me.  The way I bounce around in my chair when I play, legs and hair flying everywhere.  My friend saw me and said “Sit, Kitty! Sit!  Good Kitty!”  And the name was born.
Tell us about the making of “Everlasting Fire” the concept behind it?
Kat- Everlasting Fire tells the story of Dante’s Inferno.  The songs follow Dante through each level of hell and depict what he experienced there.  This was an incredibly fun project to work on. I wrote full scores for a few of the songs, and incorporated instrumentation away from the standard piano and drums.  We got to do a lot of research and stretch way outside the normal boundaries of a rock album.  For instance, the song “The Abyss” only uses found household type items for all of the percussion.  No actual drums were used.
You seemingly crossover genres within the new record. How did this come about?
Kat-  Instead of forcing the story to fit inside of a specific genre we decided the story should choose what best represents it.  So, Lust is a tango, Anger is a blues tune  and Greed is an “organ” that is actually composed of four flutes and four voices.   The subject matter really let my imagination go wild when it came to the compositions and lyrics.
Mike-  Right.  We tried to write in different styles to match the different circles of hell, so you’ll hear everything from jazz, blues, pop, ethereal & even metal.
If you could play any venue in the world, which venue would you choose?
Kat-  The Greek Theatre on the UC Berkeley campus.
Mike-  Hmm, that’s a good one.  The Greek is amazing.  Madison Square Garden comes to mind pretty quickly.
In this creative process, would you say you enjoy being in the studio, or performing live on stage more? Explain your reason.
Kat-  I always prefer performing live on stage over recording.  To me songs are never more alive than they are on stage.   All you have is that present moment, one shot, and there’s something about that energy that breathes extra life into that song at that moment.  And I’m not playing the song, the song is playing me.  It’s like nothing else on earth.  Studio recording is a balance between playing perfectly and capturing the energy that correctly represents the song.   And that means you might need to play that song 5 times in a row to catch it.  Live versus studio are two completely different creatures.
Mike-  Couldn’t have said it better myself 😉
What do you enjoy most about creating music in general?
Kat-  Music encompasses many different art forms to me, which is why I love it so much. Music tells stories, paints pictures in my head, forms shapes and has personality.  I love that sound can make me hyper or calm or make me cry or laugh. Getting on stage and feeling Mike’s kick drum in my chest and the vibration of the piano up through my hands is just about the happiest place on earth for me.  I have a big grin on my face just thinking about it.
Mike-  Agreed.  I feel making music is really our way of contributing something positive to the world.  When I see people getting as high as we do off of what we create it’s just about the best feeling on the planet.

4.19.2015   BuzzNet – Review: Sit Kitty Sit’s “Everlasting Fire”

Sit Kitty Sit is a band that has been on the Buzznet radar for quite some time now. Last year saw the group releasing their impressive record, “Everlasting Fire” which had quickly become a favorite of many music listeners.

There are many elements that stand out out to me on the record. Though the group keeps their use of instruments to a minimum, the instrumentation they provide with just keyboards, drums and vocals , offers up an interesting combination we don’t always find in modern music.

Sit Kitty Sit is made of band members Mike Thompson (drums) and Kat Downs (Vocals, keys). Every piece on “Everlasting Fire” delivers a shiny and new outlook into the musical realm. Their sound varies in genres spanning from indie-rock to piano driven pieces. Sometimes they get a little ‘heavy’ but not in a way that it makes their sound inaccessible. Last year we saw their hit single and video for “Birmingham” circulating throughout the music blogosphere, and with good reasoning. Their enthusiasm shines through in their record, much as I imagined it does on the stage. The record actually has a theatrical feel at times, which is definitely a compliment. If you learn one thing from experiencing “Everlasting Fire,” it is ‘don’t be afraid to take chances.” What Downs and Thompson create with the simpliest of instruments, most orchestras can’t even build with the most intricate of players.

Recommended tracks: “Birmingham,” “Life #6”, “Bleeds September”

“Everlasting Fire” is out NOW via http://www.sitkittysit.com


4.13.2015  The Great Record Chase – Sit Kitty Sit’s “Everlasting Fire” is Beyond Memorable

Sit Kitty Sit’s “Everlasting Fire” has been making its rounds among the indie circuit for the past few months. The duo, which consists of Kat Downs Gaudette and Mike Thompson, show no sign of slowing down…and with good reasoning.

Currently based in San Francisco, CA, their unique brand of Rock n’ Roll, entices with a sound that straddles the line of classic rock, hard(er) rock, and a sprinkle of indie. Armed with just a piano, a drumkit, and a remarkable set of vocals from Gaudette, these are only a handful of things that set the group apart from their San-Fran cohorts.

On “Everlasting Fire,” the record is filled with 15 tracks that provide a stunning experience within every listen. The lead single from the album, “Birmingham,” was more than enough to draw my attention to the record. Gaudette’s vocals are a burst of fresh air that is soulful and powerful. Key tracks on the record that standout to me include the sultry and classically sounding “The Pulse,” the beautifully crafted “The Abyss,” and the jaunty “New Religion.” The mixture of tracks on the record are striking; each piece fitting like a perfect piece into the Sit Kitty Sit puzzle. Sit Kitty Sit proves that this fire, is indeed everlasting.


3.20.2015  Musical America Worldwide – Sit Kitty Sit Hits the Road

Sit Kitty Sit are launching off their latest tour at a city near you! Kicking off the start of 2015 with gusto, the San Francisco rock duo is taking their sound to the masses. San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.

The group’s latest album, Everlasting Fire, has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. The record, based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno,” brings a storyline to the album, which also showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning 7 different genres, there is something for everyone.


3.19.2015  Ethnocloud – Sit Kitty Sit is on the Road Again

San Franciso’s Sit Kitty Sit are back on the road this Winter, with a handful of dates; making their way around the West Coast. An early 2015 treat, the duo of Kat Downs and Mike Thompson will bring their heavy-hitting brand of rock from the albums to the stage. Quite familiar with their newest release, 2014’s “Everlasting Fire,” filled with inspiration from “Dante’s Inferno,” Downs and Thompson captivate audiences with the help of pianos, drums, and alluring vocals. Their chemistry on their albums and onstage is impeccable, with their music being described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple; their live energy an explosion of sound. Are you sold yet?  Below you will find their latest tour dates. Be sure to catch them on the road while you can!

Sit Kitty Sit’s sound proves to be an unstoppable force. One note at a time.

Tour Dates:

March 7, 2015 (Saturday)
Bossanova Ballroom – Portland, OR

March 8, 2015 (Sunday)

Admiral Way – Seattle, WA

March 9, 2015 (Monday)
Checkerboard Bar – Spokane, WA

March 10, 2015 (Tuesday)
One World Café – Moscow, ID

March 12, 2015 (Thursday)
The Sidewinder – Denver, CO

March 14, 2015 (Saturday)
Sister – Albuquerque, NM

March 24, 2015 (Tuesday)
Hardhat Lounge – Las Vegas, NV

March 27, 2015 (Friday)
Milk Bar – San Francisco, CA


3.10.2015  Got My Head in the Clouds – Featured Guest Post:  Sit Kitty Sit

At Got Your Head in the Clouds, we like to get inside of an artist’s mind. These formative questions help bring insight to an artist’s music and often adds an element of surprise. In today’s Featured Guest post we have San Francisco rock duo, Sit Kitty Sit.

The instrumentation of Sit Kitty Sit is very unique, especially in this day and age. With the combination of piano, drums and vocals alone you create a sound that is just as in-your-face than if there were guitar and bass involved. How do you make sure that, with the subtraction of guitar and bass, that the drums and piano are recognized with such force? How have you managed to adjust this into a live setting?

SKS – The piano is such a dynamic instrument with such a broad range that it easily fills the spaces of both guitar and bass.  The bass guitar part is covered by my left hand, and the guitar or melody part by my right.  Stylistically in some cases the piano uses a wider range of bass than a bass guitar line would.  Traditional bass guitar lines are played a single note at a time where a piano would play full chords and octaves.  This can make the bottom sound even bigger on a piano. Some say I’m notorious for my monstrous left-hand action, haha.  Truthfully, I’ve always played left-heavy which really fills out the bottom end of the songs while the combination of my vocals and right hand action simultaneously fill the mid and higher registers.

To complete the grand picture, Mike’s extraordinarily musical ear translates beautifully to his attack on the drum kit.  He creates his drum parts considering the piano parts and vocal lines equally, so it’s common for him to accent not just my rhythm but to also add decorative fills complimenting my vocal melody using the drum kit as a full symphonic instrument rather than just a time-keeping device. This, in turn, results in the purposeful chaos that is Sit Kitty Sit music 🙂

Using only our intuitively honed performance techniques, our sound transfers flawlessly to a live show setting.  Actually, we have a more difficult time capturing the energy of our live show performances on our studio recordings…  I think it may be time to release a Live Record! 😉


3.7.2015  Hot Hot Beats – Sit Kitty Sit is Touring

SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson.The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has beendescribed as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.

Tour Dates:

March 8, 2015 (Sunday)
Admiral Way – Seattle, WA

March 9, 2015 (Monday)
Checkerboard Bar – Spokane, WA

March 10, 2015 (Tuesday)
One World Café – Moscow, ID

March 12, 2015 (Thursday)
The Sidewinder – Denver, CO

March 14, 2015 (Saturday)
Sister – Albuquerque, NM

March 24, 2015 (Tuesday)
Hardhat Lounge – Las Vegas, NV

March 27, 2015 (Friday)
Milk Bar – San Francisco, CA

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3.6.2015  Peaceful Pieces – Todays Listening Session:  Sit Kitty Sit

Sit Kitty Sit are a rock duo that is along the likes of Dresden Dolls, King Crimson and Fiona Apple. All which happen to be favorites of mine. Currently on tour, the group make a mixture of pop and prog rock that I haven’t heard much of anywhere else. Their sound will draw you in for sure. “Everlasting Fire” is their latest album and they are sharing their cool new video for “Birmingham” which you can see below.


2.24.2015  Ninjas Prove It – Sit Kitty Sit Tour Dates

Sit Kitty Sit are launching off their latest tour at a city near you! Kicking off the start of 2015 with gusto, the San Francisco rock duo is taking their sound to the masses. San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.

The group’s latest album, Everlasting Fire, has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. The record, based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno,” brings a storyline to the album, which also showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning 7 different genres, there is something for everyone.


2.23.2015  BuzzNet – Sit Kitty Sit Announces Tour Dates for March

Sit Kitty Sit are launching off their latest tour at a city near you! Kicking off the start of 2015 with gusto, the San Francisco rock duo is taking their sound to the masses. San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.

The group’s latest album, Everlasting Fire, has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. The record, based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno,” brings a storyline to the album, which also showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning 7 different genres, there is something for everyone.


2.18.2015  Brooklyn Fawn – Sit Kitty Sit Tour Dates Announced

Sit Kitty Sit are launching off their latest tour at a city near you! Kicking off the start of 2015 with gusto, the San Francisco rock duo is taking their sound to the masses. San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.

The group’s latest album, Everlasting Fire, has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. The record, based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno,” brings a storyline to the album, which also showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning 7 different genres, there is something for everyone.


2.17.2015  Hypnotic Sounds – Sit Kitty Sit Tour Dates

Sit Kitty Sit are launching off their latest tour at a city near you! Kicking off the start of 2015 with gusto, the San Francisco rock duo is taking their sound to the masses. San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people and not one guitar in sight.

The group’s latest album, Everlasting Fire, has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. The record, based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno,” brings a storyline to the album, which also showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning 7 different genres, there is something for everyone.


2.17.2015  The Great Record Chase – Sit Kitty Sit Hit the Road: Tour Dates Announced

Sit Kitty Sit are launching off their latest tour at a city near you! Kicking off the start of 2015 with gusto, the San Francisco rock duo is taking their sound to the masses. San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people and not one guitar in sight.

The group’s latest album, Everlasting Fire, has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. The record, based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno,” brings a storyline to the album, which also showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning 7 different genres, there is something for everyone.

Tour Dates:

March 4, 2015 (Wednesday)
Club 66 –  Ashland, OR

March 5, 2015 (Thursday)
Black Forest – Eugene, OR

March 7, 2015 (Saturday)
Bossanova Ballroom – Portland, OR

March 8, 2015 (Sunday)

Admiral Way – Seattle, WA

March 9, 2015 (Monday)
Checkerboard Bar – Spokane, WA

March 10, 2015 (Tuesday)
One World Café – Moscow, ID

March 12, 2015 (Thursday)
The Sidewinder – Denver, CO

March 14, 2015 (Saturday)
Sister – Albuquerque, NM

March 24, 2015 (Tuesday)
Hardhat Lounge – Las Vegas, NV

March 27, 2015 (Friday)
Milk Bar – San Francisco, CA


2.10.2015  Modern Mystery – Sit Kitty Sit Tour Dates Announced

Sit Kitty Sit are launching off their latest tour at a city near you! Kicking off the start of 2015 with gusto, the San Francisco rock duo is taking their sound to the masses. San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.

The group’s latest album, Everlasting Fire, has been acclaimed by fans and critics alike. The record, based entirely on “Dante’s Inferno,” brings a storyline to the album, which also showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning 7 different genres, there is something for everyone.


1.20.2015  The Great Record Chase – Put Your Records On:  Interview Sit Kitty Sit

At The Great Record Chase we strive to get inside the heads of prominent new artists, and what makes their musical nerves tick. Over the course of several months we have been putting together a project in which a selection of new artists on our radar have put together an editorial. This consists of musical influences that formed, shaped, and brought to life their sound. There has been an impressive amount of new talent that has come our way since starting this website back in the Fall, and we want to take everything to a whole new level. This feature will be regularly occurring on our website, so make sure to check back often.

Watch Now: Sit Kitty Sit “Birmingham”

Today we sit down with Mike Thompson drummer of Sit Kitty Sit, who plays alongside Kat Downs Gaudette in the band. The duo have been creating musical waves in San Francisco, for the past few years, and have struck gold with their new release “Everlasting Fire.” They have a shiny new single and video out for “Birmingham” which manages to show their musical genius that stirs inside and out.

Let us sit in on this session:

Name three albums or artists that influenced your musical styling you play today and why they are important to you.

SKS: Buddy Rich, John Bonham & Neil Peart

What made them so influential to you?

SKS: Well, Buddy was really the first jazz drummer i could identify with since I grew up on hard rock.  He had such an incredible presence and played with such force and           conviction that i didn’t realize a lot of the big band jazz drummers could and were doing. He was my gateway drummer into that world and I found they were as much a rockstar as any of the people i grew up on.

I really learned a lot about feel & dynamics from the big band guys as did John Bonham, who is really my first & foremost inspiration (like many other drummers) when it comes to hard rock.  He had a natural swing to his playing and modeled his big drum kits after the big band jazzers.  I really learned from Bonham how to take what the big band guys were doing and translate it to a hard rock setting while still maintaining power & finesse.

Neil was the first drummer who kind of taught me what it means to write technically specific drum parts for songs. A lot of the stuff I was listening to before I got into Rush was pretty straight ahead rock.  Drum parts for songs were pretty straight forward and never really played the same.  I learned a lot about playing in different time signatures & styles within one song from him.

When did you first discover them?

SKS: I discovered all these guys within the first couple years that I started playing drums, so sometime between 10-12 years old.  Rush was actually my very first big concert I ever went to; a Christmas present from Dad when I was 12.  The show blew my mind away, Neil in particular.

Of course there have been countless other influences on me since I’ve picked up the drumsticks but combining everything I’ve learned from these three in the early stages of  my game really set the path for how I play today.

How did they help form the music on your new record?

SKS: Well again, they all come from different musical genres and this record having such a broad stroke of musical genres I found myself drawing a little from each one of them.  I took a few ideas from similar stuff they’ve done and applied it to the song with a twist of my own identity on it and voilá!


12.31.2014  BuzzNet 2014 – The Year in Artist’s Lists: Sit Kitty Sit

Today we look back with some standout artists from the 2014 list, who were kind enough to share their favorite albums and songs that they discovered in 2014. The rules were fair game. The songs didn’t necessarily have to be current, but something they sought and loved during the year. Whether it was a song on their phone, on television, or one they discovered while traveling the country in their tour van, here are their lists.

SIT KITTY SIT

The Go Ahead  – “It Is Written” (2014)

This tune has just one of the best opening lines for a song ever.  “I commonly make the mistake of closing my eyes too soon”  I LOVE THAT.  I just adore Kyna’s voice.  I could listen to her sing all day.  This song switches hypnotically between sultry swooning and hard rock.  They nailed it!! The Go Ahead hail from our own San Francisco!  thegoaheadmusic.com

Bent Knee – “Being Human” (2014)

This whole album is a freaking triumph, but this is my favorite song.  The soundscapes, haunting lyrics, chord progressions, use of rhythm – it’s everything that turns on my brain.  I get a huge grin on my face every time it plays. www.bentkneemusic.com

Sit Kitty Sit – “The Abyss” (2014)

It’s probably weird that I’m including a Sit Kitty Sit song on this list, but it’s the truth.

We freaking love this song.  I love it so much I don’t even feel like I wrote it.  It’s in every play list I’ve made since the album came out.  No joke.  It’s even in our special “post show” playlist that Mike and I jam out to.  I think it might be our favorite (don’t tell the other songs).  www.sitkittysit.com

Eddie Vedder  – “Hard Sun” (2007)

I never saw Into the Wild (still haven’t) so I came across this song when Mike and I were on a tour and he was playing DJ with his phone.  I instantly fell in love with it.  I had it on repeat for a whole week once.  I love it when that happens.

No Small Children – “Mystical” (2013)

I love these L.A. ladies.  They are amazing.  It’s the chorus of this song that got me – the combination of lyrics and melody is just perfect.  “you’re more than anything that anyone says about you”.  It’s one of those melodies that is so pretty you immediately want to sing along.  Beautiful. www.nosmallcchildren.com

Paul Simon – “Cool Cool River” (1990)

Here’s another selection from our post-show playlist.  Don’t even get me started on the percussion -we prefer the live version of this tune and it’s intoxicating.  But hands down the lyrics in this song are the most beautiful I’ve ever heard.  “these prayers are the memory of God”.  Shut your face, Paul Simon.  That is so beautiful I can’t even handle it.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Let the Day Begin” (2013)

This is a fantastic cover of The Call’s tune from 1989.  This tune gets Mike fired up faster than anything in the world.  Doesn’t matter how tired we are, if we need to pump up before taking the stage – this song is the answer.

The Spiral Electric – “Upon Your Shore”

Live from San Francisco, CA The Spiral Electric are kicking out some great psych-rock. Upon Your Shore will catch you right away.   It has a really hypnotic groove that always pushes my mind into daydreaming.  Which is one of my favorite pastimes.  www.soundcloud.com/thespiralelectric

Cellar Doors – “Lies” (2011)

Another fantastic San Francisco band, Cellar Doors have been tearing it up.  This track perfectly captures the cool magic they weave on stage with the driving bass line and hooky lyrics.  An excellent driving song when you’re on the open road.  www.cellardoorsinstereo.com

AC/DC – “Thunderstruck” (1990)

After a great show, the gear is loaded and we’re off – and this is the FIRST song we blast.  Every. Time.  And we play a lot of great shows.  Which means we probably hear this song over 100 times a year.  It is in our top ten every single year.


12.29.2014  BuzzNet – Standout Videos of 2014 – Sit Kitty Sit, “Birmingham”

Sit Kitty Sit – “Birmingham”

Sit Kitty Sit is a band that I have had my eyes and ears on for the greater half of the year. The dynamic duo took to stages across the Northeast with their latest release this year, and most recently, brought to life the epic video for “Birmingham.” The video showcases the band’s unstoppable in-your-face-sound that will have you craving more. A must see, and a great introduction to outsiders.


12.19.2014 Anglo Shermann – Local Show Spotlight – Sit Kitty Sit

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12TH AT THE BLUE LAGOON
9PM / $5 AT THE DOOR / 21+
SIT KITTY SIT / THE GO AHEAD / ARROWS

In this day and age it’s easy to miss a good show simply because there’s too many to choose from, especially in an art and music hotbed like Santa Cruz.  So every once in awhile Angelo searches the local shows calendar for an artist playing in town that deserves a little more spotlight.  Today we focus on the San Francisco based duo Sit Kitty Sit.  These self-described “Classically trained music geeks with braggy diplomas” are currently tearing up the states on a 30-day national tour and will be ending their journey next Friday here in town at The Blue Lagoon.

Donning the stage armed with only a piano and a drum set implies simplicity, but what follows is anything but that.  These two blend influences from classical composers with bands like Zeppelin and Rush alongside Kat Downs’ old school sultry and passionate vocals, creating a sound that is entirely new and original yet you can’t shake a feeling of nostalgia.

With a live show and sound that could fit easily in a Roaring 20s speakeasy or the backyard stage at a college kegger, it’s no surprise these two have been making a lot of noise since their inception in 2010.  Wet your beak with some of their tracks, a few videos, and then head on down to The Blue Lagoon next Friday December 12th to catch them live along with the insanely talented San Francisco based group The Go Ahead and local favorites Arrows.


11.29.2014  Black on the Canvas – Up-and-Coming-Artists:  Sit Kitty Sit

Sit Kitty Sit

By Veronica Kirk

Hailing from San Francisco, Sit Kitty Sit (link)a is a back-to-basics rock duo that carry a whole new sound to the table. Made up of members Kat Downs (piano/vocals) and Mike Thompson (drums), right from the start it will be noticeable that there is not a guitar or bass in ear’s way. Don’t let this scare you though. The sound they create is hard, noteworthy and brings Rock n’ Roll to a different level that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

The result is their latest release titled “Everlasting Fire,” which is based off of Dante’s Inferno. “Everlasting Fire” spreads across seven genres on their glorious third release with 15 guest artists in tow. The group is currently sharing their latest video for the hard-hitting “Birmingham,” that would put the Dresden Dolls to shame.

They draw inspiration from such acts as Fiona Apple, Dresden Dolls and King Crimson, while creating a sound that borders on pop/prog which adds something truly special to the mix. Sit Kitty Sit are also known for their intense live performances that ooze energy and vibrancy. They seem to accomplish more with two people than most bands do with five.

Sit Kitty Sit is definitely a band to watch into the New Year. They are also on a tour covering the United States and beyond which lasts throughout the holiday season.


11.16.2014  Modern Mystery – Sit Kitty Sit Take Over NYC This Week; Tickets on Sale Now

Sit Kitty Sit are currently making their way through the East Coast on a lengthy tour which stops in New York this week. You can catch the group at the Rock Shop (11/20) and Pianos (11/19) respectively. The heavy hitting duo bring to life elements of drums meet piano, accompanied by singer Kat Downs flawless vocal work. Drummer Mike Thompson brings the music to a whole new level with his intricate playing. Sit Kitty Sit currently have a new video out for “Birmingham,” off the latest masterpiece, Everlasting Fire, out now. Check out their New York dates below and try to make it out if you can!

11/19 – Pianos – 7pm / 21+ / $8

11/20 – The Rock Shop – 8pm / 21+ / $8-$10
Tickets HERE


10.9.2014  Arena – Up Close & Personal with Sit Kitty Sit

Sit Kitty Sit are a phenomenal up-and-coming duo that is bursting from the San Francisco scene, and breathing new life into the city.

Recently, I had the pleasure to speak with both Kat and Mike from the band, and gained insight on the band’s musical inspiration, their newest record, Everlasting Fire, and much more.

Kay: Where did you come up with the name Sit Kitty Sit?

Kat: The band was actually named by a friend of ours who was poking fun at the way I bounce around in my chair when I play. “Sit, Kitty! Sit! Good Kitty.” It was so perfect it just stuck.

Kay: What was the first instrument that you learned how to play?

Kat: I started on piano the summer before second grade, so around 7-years-old. I took up flute in fourth grade and went on to major in music in both high school and college.

Mike: Pots and pans (laughs). Then when I was about 10, my dad, also a drummer, taught me some basics before putting me in private lessons which I continued in addition to studying music in high school and college.

Kay: At what age, or period in your life, did you know that music was something you wanted to be heavily involved in? 

Kat: That’s a great question. For me, I don’t feel like I ever made that decision consciously. I don’t really write music because I want to, I write it because it’s just what comes out of me. I’ve actually tried to quit music multiple times thinking my life would be easier overall if I chose another direction, but it just keeps dragging me back in. It’s just what I do!

Mike: For me, it was about the time I was a sophomore in high school, so I guess around 15 or 16. I had played several sports growing up, but in the 10th grade, I joined the school’s jazz and marching bands and just sort of lost interest in organized sports. I was way more interested in the magical world of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Kay: Your sound is very intriguing, very “real,” if you will. What is your overall inspiration when writing these tracks? What is your mindset? 

Kat: Each song is different of course, but generally I approach it with the idea that the song is already written and I just have to listen closely to write it down correctly. So typically I write alone with earphones on so I can try to block out everything else and really focus on what the song is trying to tell me. Sometimes it comes clear as day and really easily, sometimes it’s like trying to urge a secret out of someone, sometimes it feels like you’re getting in a full on fight with it. It’s part of what I love about the process. Mike has a brilliantly uncanny way of hearing exactly what’s in my head, so when I bring him a new song it only takes one time through and he already has the concept nailed. From there, we work on the arrangement.

Mike: Yeah, plus it helps that we have such similar playing styles. If we switched instruments we would very likely play them in the same style as our primary instruments.

Kay: How much of your studio tracks do you record on your own, and how much do you record with the help of others on instruments?

Kat: “Everlasting Fire” is a unique album for us. It was the first recording we ever did that had any guest artists on it at all, and there were 15 of them! On both “The Push” and “Beautiful/Terrible,” we recorded all of our parts live sitting in the same room together, just the two of us. We did the majority of the piano and drum tracks on “Everlasting Fire” live in the studio the same way as well.

Kay: What is your favorite thing about recording and writing music? 

Kat: Writing, I love watching how a song turns out. I think it’s going to go one way, and then it goes another. Recording was never my favorite thing, but since we’ve come up with our own system, it has really grown on me. Now I love seeing what energy we can bring into the studio and how that helps us capture a moment in time. I love going back to listen to the tracks and how they bring back the images of that day for me.

Mike: One thing I love about writing is the constant challenge of trying not to repeat myself conceptually, keeping it fresh and new from song to song. Playing solely to a piano instead of a guitar and bass is a different game though. Usually, you’re following one or the other of them, but with piano, you’re kind of following two instruments at once since it provides both rhythm and lead simultaneously. I have always been a huge fan of recording. It’s a completely different approach to live shows, and the possibilities of building and layering songs are endless. Case in point: our motto while recording “Everlasting Fire” and wondering if we could/should add another instrument or guest artist was, “Fuck it, why not?”

Kay: What is the most challenging thing about being a musician in 2014?

Kat: For me, it’s that there is no “one way” to be successful, which is both amazingly freeing and at the same time can be very daunting. I love that I get to decide what works for me with all my projects and that Mike and I together get to decide “Hey, let’s make an album based on Dante’s Inferno” and then just do it. At the same time, my imagination is so big it’s hard for me sometimes to just pick one direction and stick with it.

Mike: Agreed. I also think it’s attracting and keeping people’s attention and interest. There is just sooo much out there at the tip a finger these days for people to check out that it can be very easy to get lost in the mix unless you’re constantly promoting and touring!


10.8.2014  Hot Hot Beats – Sit Kitty Sit’s “Birmingham”

Sit Kitty Sit

Falling head over heels for this one, for sureeeeeSit Kitty Sit ”Birmingham”

2014 unleashed the release of Sit Kitty Sit‘s third studio album, Everlasting Fire.  Based entirely on Dante’s Inferno, this storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team.  Spanning seven genres and boasting 15 guest artists, the release shows us an entirely new side of the band while maintaining their identity.  The duo will be touring extensively in the U.S. for the duration of 2014.

9.22.2014  Ninjas Prove It – Sit Kitty Sit’s “Birmingham” 

Listen: Sit Kitty Sit “Birmingham” https://soundcloud.com/sitkittysit/10-birmingham

San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight. 2014 unleashed the release of Sit Kitty Sit’s third studio album, Everlasting Fire. Based entirely on Dante’s Inferno, this storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. Spanning seven genres and boasting 15 guest artists, the release shows us an entirely new side of the band while maintaining their identity. The duo will be touring extensively in the U.S. for the duration of 2014.


9.18.2014  Buzznet – In Talks: Sit Kitty Sit Interview

Sit Kitty Sit bring a refreshing brand of Rock and Roll to the table. Based out of San Francisco, CA, the duo is made up of Kat Downs and Mike Thompson,  who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. 2014 unleashed the release of Sit Kitty Sit’s third studio album, Everlasting Fire. Based entirely on Dante’s Inferno, this storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team. I had the chance to chat with Kat about their musical musings, which you can read below.

Sit Kitty Sit’s “Birmingham” https://soundcloud.com/sitkittysit/10-birmingham 

How did Sit Kitty Sit meet?

KD: We met through a mutual acquaintance when I (Kat) was asked to come in and lay down some keyboard tracks on an EP they were recording.  We knew each other in the music scene after that but didn’t work together for a while.

Your songs have different musical elements. How do you combine your influences and musical stylings?

KD: We’re two of those nerdy-nerdlings who have studied music our whole lives, so honestly how we end up combining the different influences is by what we find entertaining to our own ears.  Most of my upbringing was strictly Classical, so there’s always a lot of that in my writing whether I want it there or not.  Mike’s upbringing was mostly rock based, so it balances out.

What artists would you cite as musical influences in your songwriting?

KD: I definitely have songwriters I love, but I don’t hear them in the tunes I write (If you do, please point it out!)  Lyrically I LOVE Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel.  Song structure wise I love Talking Heads.  Lately, I’ve been loving the imagery Florence Welch uses in her writing.  I like a lot of prog stuff and lately also Beethoven Piano Concertos and Debussy.   I like stuff that forces me to listen to it.  If something can fade into being background music I get bored with it very quickly.

How would you describe your songwriting process?

KD: While it’s never completely the same twice, most of the time it will be wound around a single sentence or lyrical idea.  Sometimes the original idea never even ends up as a lyric in the song – which is just how it goes.  Sometimes I’ll have a musical riff or concept that I’ll carry around for YEARS before I end up using it somewhere.  It’s always an exciting moment when I finally use one of those.  The fastest songs that are born come music and lyrics together in one blur – sometimes a whole song in 10 or 15 minutes.  “Superbia” off the new record was a 15-minute song.

What is your recording process like?

KD: We record live with a scratch vocal 98% of the time.  Mike and I in the same room facing each other, just like we do in the rehearsal room.  That way we can read cues and communicate via facial expressions.  That’s our favorite way to record.  A few songs, such as “Roots” on the new record, “Everlasting Fire”, require the final vocal be laid down live along with the piano track, so drums have to be done separately to keep the drums from bleeding into the vocal mic.  It’s definitely more challenging to record that way.

Where does your lyrical inspiration come from?

KD: My head.  Honestly I feel like most of my life my brain has been constantly translating what I see, think, and experience into some version of poetry or prose.  I’ve been called a romantic.   It’s very easy for me to walk from the grocery store back to the car and suddenly find something precious and beautiful about the experience that I think is worth writing about.  Most of my overall concepts come from seeing something mundane in a different light.

How do you capture the sound you created in the studio and bring it to life on the stage?

KD: Honestly, we have the opposite problem. Our biggest struggle is getting our live sound in the studio.  Our live shows are the epitome of what we do – the energy, the fire, the sound and the chemistry.  It’s so difficult to re-create that in a studio.  We’ve had the blessing of working over the past year with a handful of different and amazing sound engineers and through the experience we’re learning how best to capture the side of ourselves that our fans find so hypnotizing.

How would you describe the San Francisco scene?

KD: Right now it’s still pretty Indie overall, but that’s starting to fade in preference of more original acts.  Audiences are starting to show a bigger appreciation for more unique combinations of instruments, new spins on rock music, and a wider variety of vocal types.  It’s a pretty exciting time in SF at the moment and we’re happy to be a part of it.

What are Sit Kitty Sit’s future plans?

KD: We’re touring the entire East Coast this fall/winter starting in November- dates should be released soon.  Next year we’re just starting to talk about possibly going to Europe – but more touring for sure.  We just love being on the road.  We’re putting the finishing touches on a live recording, and the songs are almost done for our next EP release which will come out in 2015.  We just love this project like mad – we ask ourselves “what do you feel like doing now?”  and then we do it.  It’s beyond fun.


9.2014  Reno Tahoe Tonight, September Issue – Review of “Everlasting Fire” 
(glossy – page 7)

Taking impetus from Dante’s Inferno, blazing piano, thundering drums, and angelic vocals burst forth from Everlasting Fire.  As you know, I like music, I like my friends, and I often like my friends’ music. However, it isn’t often I find my friend’s music inspirational. This CD is full of songs that make me want to be a better writer. “Bleeds September” makes me want to go home and edit old poetry.  Enjoy 15 tracks of intricate and impassioned music from a Bay Area duo that is quickly becoming a staple in the Reno music community.

Jump on the bandwagon and visit them at sitkittysit.com to get to know them better.

By: Thee Reverend Rory Dowd


8.20.2014  Buzznet – Slowshow: Interview with Sit Kitty Sit

Sit Kitty Sit Takes Music to a Whole New Level

San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.   Listen:Sit Kitty Sit “Birmingham” https://soundcloud.com/sitkittysit/10-birmingham 
  2014 unleashed the release of Sit Kitty Sit’s third studio album, Everlasting Fire.  Based entirely on Dante’s Inferno, this storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team.  Spanning seven genres and boasting 15 guest artists, the release shows us an entirely new side of the band while maintaining their identity.  The duo will be touring extensively in the U.S. for the duration of 2014.


8.15.2014  Got My Head in the Clouds – Sit Kitty Sit Review of Album “Everlasting Fire”

San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple. Known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances, the group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.

Listen to Sit Kitty Sit “Birmingham”

https://soundcloud.com/sitkittysit/10-birmingham 

2014 unleashed the release of Sit Kitty Sit’s third studio album, Everlasting Fire.  Based entirely on Dante’s Inferno, this storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team.  Spanning seven genres and boasting 15 guest artists, the release shows us an entirely new side of the band while maintaining their identity.  The duo will be touring extensively in the U.S. for the duration of 2014.


4.12.2014  The Today Online – Sit Kitty Sit Review of Album “Everlasting Fire” 

Sometimes a band suggestion comes along that just makes me sit up straight and enjoy every second that they have to offer. San Francisco’s Sit Kitty Sit just so happened to be one of those suggestions that came into my inbox a few days ago and their new album, Everlasting Fire, has me 100% hooked.

Described as “…Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, Fiona apple…”, the two-person group of Kat Downs and Mike Thompson have crafted a fantastic album that is built around the epic Inferno by Dante Alighieri. It’s poppy, it’s catchy, and it’s just a lot of fun!

 


4.11.2014  Bloody Disgusting – Sit Kitty Sit Album Review “Everlasting Fire”

Sometimes a band suggestion comes along that just makes me sit up straight and enjoy every second that they have to offer. San Francisco’s Sit Kitty Sit just so happened to be one of those suggestions that came into my inbox a few days ago and their new album, Everlasting Fire, has me 100% hooked.

Described as “…Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple…”, the two-person group of Kat Downs and Mike Thompson have crafted a fantastic album that is built around the epic Inferno by Dante Alighieri. It’s poppy, it’s catchy, and it’s just a lot of fun!

You can listen to the full album below.


8.6.2014  Worst Little Podcast “(Don’t Touch The) Crackly Bottom” Sit Kitty Sit 

Warning:  Not Suitable For Work


8.4.2014 Modern Mystery – Sit Kitty Sit New Video “Birmingham”

San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple.Following their initial debut EP, The Push, in September of 2010, SKS became known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances. No holds barred, this group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.February 2012 saw the release of their much anticipated sophomore album, Beautiful/Terrible, on the former independent label, Gun Horse Records. Following local and regional touring, 2013 saw the first national tour for the duo as well as the release of their second full-production music video, “My Beloved”, in April 2013.
2014 unleashed the release of Sit Kitty Sit’s third studio album, Everlasting Fire.  Based entirely on Dante’s Inferno, this storyline album showcases the extensive versatility of Downs and Thompson as a team.  Spanning seven genres and boasting 15 guest artists, the May 2014 release shows us an entirely new side of Sit Kitty Sit while maintaining their identity.  The duo will be touring extensively in the U.S. for the duration of 2014.
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Skope News, August 1, 2014
SIT KITTY SIT “BIRMINGHAM”San Francisco’s SIT KITTY SIT is Kat Downs and Mike Thompson. The duo, who create an undeniable pop/proggy piano and drum sound, has been described as Dresden Dolls mixed with King Crimson, & Fiona Apple.Following their initial debut EP, The Push, in September of 2010, SKS became known for consistently thrilling audiences with their energetically intense live performances. No holds barred, this group produces addictive rock n’ roll – with only two people, and not one guitar in sight.https://soundcloud.com/sitkittysit/10-birmingham

5.17.2014  Square Pig in a Round Hole

After a productive week of recording, I’m back! My own anecdotal experience indicates that playing rock & roll keeps us young — on the last day of recording, I got carded at the grocery story where I’ve been shopping weekly since 1989. And the entertaining band names just keep coming:

Fall Saves Grace
Sin boldly that grace may abound.

Indigenous Robot
Artificial intelligence arising spontaneously in Silicon Valley. (Or, apparently, Broadsterdam, CO).

Make Do and Mend
This is how I was raised and how I run my household. In rock band terms, “use more duct tape.”

Sit Kitty Sit
Yeah, like that’ll get you anywhere with a cat.

Surgical Chaos
An operation that has gone horribly wrong in all possible ways; or carefully orchestrated disorder.


5.15.2014  Pop Vulture Entertainment Network – Sit Kitty Sit 

popVLTR: You’ve been making moves in San Francisco, how’d you get into music?

Sit Kitty Sit: Kat: Thank you! San Francisco is an amazing town for music. It’s great to be working there. I’ve been doing music since I was old enough to walk, so I guess I was sort of born into it. Started playing piano at 7 and flute at 9 or 10. It’s always been the biggest part of my life.

Mike: I started playing drums when I was 10, lessons started at 12 but it’s been in my blood since day one – my Dad is a drummer as are a few other members of my family. It’s almost a family tradition at this point.

popVLTR: Congrats on the upcoming ‘Everlasting Fire’, who are some of your influences?

SKS: Kat: Thanks! We are really excited about the new album. It’s a storyline record based entirely on Dante’s Inferno. It really allowed us to explore genres outside of our normal style. I was raised with classical music, so a lot my early influences were Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner and such – later I leaned toward people playing the piano, so definitely Billy Joel, and then I got into more proggy stuff – Talking Heads, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel.

Mike: I was raised purely on Blues and Classic Rock, but then later got into Metal, Prog and Jazz which is really what helped us branch out on the new record. You’ll hear everything from rock to blues to latin, ethereal, metal – even some folk and classical styles.

popVLTR: What are some of your proudest moments in music?

SKS: Kat: I’ve always had a few certain cities on my “bucket list” where i’ve wanted to play music I wrote in. Knocked two of them off just this year – New York, and New Orleans. That felt like an accomplishment!

Mike: Every moment I’m able to play is my proudest moment.

popVLTR: What cool stuff is on the horizon for Sit Kitty Sit?

SKS: Kat&Mike: We’re releasing a new music video alongside the new album which is due to be released on May 2, 2014. We’re currently on tour through the South, We’ve got a Northwest Tour planned for May through the beginning of June, and an East Coast Tour planned for November. We just love to play as much as we can, and being able to travel around the country and meet new friends and fans is our definition of good living. Can’t think of anything better than that.


5.8.2014  The Bay Bridged – Classical rock band Sit Kitty Sit releases ‘Everlasting Fire’

Classic rock is the music your dad listens to on that awful local radio station that plays Steve Miller’s “The Joker” every single day of the week.  Classical rock, on the other hand, is the term Sit Kitty Sit coined to describe their own unique sound, one that defies even that limiting title.  The duo’s new record, Everlasting Fire, which just dropped last Friday, encompasses genres ranging from Danny Elfman-like freakout rock (“life #6″) to tearful ballads (“Bleeds September”) to straight up heavy metal (“Ditch”).  Though it can possibly come across as a touch of hubris, the album is based on Dante’s Inferno and features 15 guest artists to help them achieve an orchestral sonic atmosphere.  Somehow, the band pulls this lofty goal off, probably because they approach it so fearlessly, so confident in their ability and originality.

The music can be at turns gorgeous, terrifying, melancholy and furious, each song propelled by the thunderous drumming of Mike Thompson (and, as a drummer myself, I don’t give out drummer compliments lightly; check out that great groove on “When I Get to Heaven”!) and balanced out by Kat Downs’ pop sensibility on the piano and vocals.

Digging for comparisons, you can find a little bit of everyone from Nick Cave to Randy Newman, Amanda Palmer to Metallica in their work.  Just simply comparing this band, however, does Sit Kitty Sit a disservice.  I’ve been an obsessive music consumer since the age of 15 and, at this point in my life, I rarely get surprised by sound.  Well, Sit Kitty Sit certainly surprised me, and I’m grateful they did.

About the Author:
Writer, drummer for numerous Bay Area bands, and obsessive Titus Andronicus fan, you can find more of his work (both musical and literary) at louderthanadoubt.tumblr.com or facebook.com/Nearmyth62.

 


9.5.2013  Green Bay Press Gazette (print) – Green Bay Native Downs Returns as Rocker –

Kat Downs is in a goth band signed to a German label, has played the annual Ann Rice Vampire Ball in New Orleans and has shared the stage with a fire-breathing lead singer of a theatrical heavy metal group.

Let’s just say it has been an interesting path going from a Green Bay fourth-grader who picked up the flute to a full-time touring musician living in California for the artist formerly known as Kat Nesbitt.

The touring road is bringing her full circle on Friday for a gig at JD’s Bar, where she’ll perform with her duo Sit Kitty Sit. For friends and family who recall her years as a member of the jazz band and marching band at Green Bay West High School and as a former piano teacher with 50 students at Heid Music, it’ll be their first chance to see her as a rock artist. That includes her parents, John and Nancy Nesbitt, who still live in Green Bay.

“They’ve never seen me do this, so I don’t know if they’re excited or not. I think they’re just happy I’m coming,’’ Downs said from San Francisco, where she has lived since 2004.

It took some finagling to stretch the tour itinerary this far east before she and partner Mike Thompson turn around and head back to California.

“That was the plan all along, to get to Green Bay,’’ she said.

Downs and Thompson (a performing couple but not a real-life couple) bill themselves as a “pop/proggy piano and drum duo’’ — no guitar. If you would’ve told Downs, a classically trained pianist who graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in music, that someday she would be be a rock singer, she would’ve looked up from behind her music stand with some serious doubt.

It wasn’t until she moved to California in 2001 that she decided to step out of her contemporary and classical music comfort zone. She started writing her own music, which came out kind of folky and proved a natural bridge from classical to rock. She hauled her keyboard around to gigs at coffeehouses and put out a solo album in 2005. Looking for more performance experience, she answered a Craigslist ad for a cover band looking for a frontwoman.
“They were sort of the ones who taught me how to rock ‘n’ roll. It was really fun,’’ she said. “One day I just let loose. I think I was singing a Lenny Kravitz song.’’

She still tours with the goth band Saints of Ruin and she was hired last summer by another group as a keyboardist and backup vocalist for a national tour. But it was just recently that she quit her job and took the plunge into making music and the 3-year-old Sit Kitty Sit a full-time career. (A “huge, huge supporter’’ of music education in schools, she still makes time to teach a handful of piano students.)

“It was a scary leap to make,’’ she said. It was her husband, also an artist, who encouraged her to “just jump, just do it.’’

“It was very cathartic,’’ she said. “The cool part is all the people I’ve worked with over the years, they come and see you perform live and say, ‘Oh, you’re supposed to be doing that!’’’

Downs has clearly found her niche, but there will still be some anxiousness before her hometown gig.

“I admit I’m nervous. This is the first time coming home, and I’m playing all music that I wrote, so that’s a little unnerving,’’ she said.

The Green Bay stop comes during a six-show week, so it means just one night in town, but she’ll be back in November for a Green Bay Packers game and a family visit. She hopes to find time on Friday to get over to Kroll’s West, her designated hangout in high school after football games.

“I can’t not go there,’’ she said. “Those poor people were such troopers to put up with all of us kids.’’


9.3.2013  The Badger Herald  – Classically-trained Sit Kitty Sit promises raw, stripped-down Frequency show

Mix the whimsical piano of Ben Folds, the raw emotion of Regina Spektor, the art rock of Florence and the Machine and the chic baggage of being an underground band in San Francisco, and you’ll get something approximating Sit Kitty Sit, a funky-fresh duo composed of pianist Kat Downs and drummer Mike Thompson.

On Sept. 7, they’re coming to The Frequency.

The duo’s no-frills, dramatic and catchy piano-pop sound works because of their similar chemistry and musical training. Both started playing their respective instruments when they were children, went to college for music performance and played in other Bay Area bands before deciding to make Sit Kitty Sit their number one musical priority.

The classically-trained musicians say they work so well together because they play their different instruments in similar ways. “If I was a pianist, I’d play like her, and if she was a drummer, she’d play like me,” Thompson said.

It’s not surprising that when the two met through mutual musician friends, they hit it off and started jamming out together. In 2010, they officially formed Sit Kitty Sit. The group’s name stems from Kat’s tendency to get so into playing her piano standing up that she would thrash around, which once caused her friend to shout, “Sit down, Kitty! Sit down!” The duo released an EP called The Push the same year they formed. Two years later, in 2012, they released their first full-fledged album, Beautiful/Terrible, on the same day they played at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill, well-known for hosting relatively unknown bands that later hit it big.

Signs are looking good for Sit Kitty Sit. Downs and Thompson have already put a lot of work into their young band. With their stripped-down rock style, they’ve been touring extensively throughout California and the surrounding states, playing both small festivals and a little something called South by Southwest in 2012. Their favorite festival appearance, however, was at the three-day Bask Music and Arts Festival in Forestville, Calif.

“The energy of that crowd was like they were absorbing everything you were playing,” Kat said. “They were just sitting there mesmerized because it was really too hot to dance.”

Lesson learned. When attending a Sit Kitty Sit concert, it’s not hard to be mesmerized. Playing live seems to be Downs and Thompson’s thing. They play with a raw and palpable energy, and it’s easy to sense the rush the performers get from performing. But, Mike said, the key to success when playing live on tours and festivals is preparation.

And prepare they have. With their fall tour just beginning, venues locked down and the van packed and set to go, Thompson says the only thing they have left to do is to go out and actually perform.

Thompson said he’ll still be working his job as a software head-hunter from the tour van. With this nervousness and stress, will they drive each other nuts on their first extensive tour? “No,” Kat said. “We’re not afraid of driving each other crazy. We’re both the type of people that can sit in a room and not have to talk.”

When they wrap up their Classical Reverie Tour in early November, Downs and Thompson say they’ll start planning their Northeast tour and recording their new album over the winter. While the band’s previous two releases have been spent finding their core sound, the next album is sure to be chock-full of frills: special guests, new techniques and more elaborate production.

“It’ll be a lot more epic,” Thompson said.


6.8.2013  Reno Tahoe Tonight – Pez Sez – Sit Kitty Sit Show Review Red Rock Bar (Page 90)

What’s the deal with me and two piece bands these days? The latest being Sit Kitty Sit, with Kat Downs (piano/vox) and Mike Thompson (drums) bringing fire to Red Rock

Once again the crowd was small but man, we were mighty. I felt privileged to witness this band. The energy from them was just as vibrant as the color red and uplifting. With Kats bluesy sounding voice singing and playing her Korg like a master in her bare feet, Mike was keeping the perfect off-time beats with his sweet Ludwig drums.

Seriously, I came into this thinking I might not like them; their online stuff didn’t really evoke much excitement from me. But then I saw the truth: they were just awesome live! The even had some crazy skinny girl dancing up and all over them. There are no bands I know of that would ever even come close to covering the Billy Idol song “White Wedding” well — but they did. In fact, they made that song their bitch, it was that good. What made it truly epic was it wasn’t even Billy Idol’s song anymore, it was a Sit Kitty Sit song. We all agreed. If they come back, which they will, you really need to get out the trailer Reno. See Sit Kitty Sit and smile with your pussy cat smile.

Jenny PezDeSpencer is a Senior Contributing Writer at Reno Tahoe Tonight Magazine


4.1.2012  Fabryka Magazine – Review of Sit Kitty Sit’s “My Beloved” 

Music like this cannot be given a low rating since it’s true Music with a capital M. If you understand orchestration techniques more than the average listener you will find there is no need to read an artists’ bio to realize when a musician is trained in composition, transposition and music theory.

Kat Downs along with drummer Mike Thompson have an extensive musical background that comes from experience and dedication. Kat is a professionally trained pianist, composer and music teacher which means that symphonies, pit orchestras, choirs and proper counterpoint are nothing strange to her. She is also in a gothic rock band called Saints of Ruin that toured with industrial rockers Slick Idiot. Mike has played drums in several bands of different genres (for example Tokyo Raid or The Big Nasty) for over 20 years. Moreover, drumming is in his family heritage. This aspect combined with listening to many different styles of music let him explore avenues such as blues, jazz, punk, latin, classic rock and progressive rock.

Sit Kitty Sit is a pretty new and recent project that is inspired by a variety of vibes and influences. The band was established in San Francisco, CA in 2010. Since releasing their debut The Push EP (2010), they moved on to create a brand new album entitled Beautiful / Terrible in 2012 where the song “My Beloved” appears at the end of the tracklist.

The songwriting along with the compositional structure is solid yet open, leaving comfortable space for the vocals. Kat’s voice is set between mezzo-soprano and alto which allows her to fluctuate between octaves with middle to low notes that are well controlled. The track is strong, direct and confident, yet sounds impatient and almost angry. When Kat sings you may find yourself wanting to stand up straight and wait for orders… or an encounter.
The rhythm section is based on both piano and drums which makes the sound twice as dynamic. There are no guitars or bass used in this song. The drums are punctual in the background, however, no specific percussive solos outline the song, so the beats emphasize the piano along with Kat’s vocals.

Since both of the artists have been researching many styles of music on daily basis, “My Beloved” is a mixture between pop, avant-garde and classical music. If you’re a director looking for a good musical score or even searching a live band to make an appearance in your movie, consider Sit Kitty Sit as a strong candidate. This song would be a perfect fit for an action or crime movie like Sin City if it were set in a 1930’s-1940’s environment with gangsters in suits, fedoras and black ‘n’ white shoes listening to piano along with a female vocalist. It may also be a match to historically related screenplays or documentaries from the WWII era as well.

If a majority of people were to understand the beauty of classical music, Sit Kitty Sit could have been nominated for the most promising music discovery of 2012. However, since most music fans seem to enjoy bouncy pop, electronica or hip-hop music as opposed to something dynamic and intelligent, let us believe that serious music connoisseurs and audiophiles will truly support this ambitious project by purchasing their music and enjoying their live performances.

Sit Kitty Sit tours quite frequently and also recently played during the 2012 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. They plan to take part in the BASK Music and Arts Festival in July of this year as well as go on an East Coast tour planned for this autumn that may also continue into the Midwest until sometime in early 2013.
(Katarzyna ‘NINa’ Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, April 1st, 2012)


2.21.2012  Vicarious Lines – ON FINDING RAD NEW MUSIC – SIT KITTY SIT By Vicarious Lines

How could I not like a band with a cat + command in the name? It’s fairly automatic that I should as I am @kungfupussy, and they are Sit Kitty Sit. They are however much, much, much cooler than me. I can tweet some pretty cool stuff but the two of them create some freaking awesome sounds…


2012  Music Hype – Sit Kitty Sit’s “PURGE” TRACK REVIEW
by MusicHype.com
http://musichype.com/track-of-the-week-sit-kitty-sit-purge

Stripped to it’s bare essentials; some classy piano leads render a kooky-ish slice of pop music, complimented by some fantastic vocal melodicism from Bay Area’s Sit Kitty Sit


Gary Hill – Music Street Journal (Mar 28, 2011)
Sit Kitty Sit
The Push
Review by Gary Hill
This EP is fascinating. It’s also quite entertaining. Sit Kitty Sit is a duo, Kat Downs (vocals and piano) and Mike Thompson (drums). That means there are no guitars or other instrumentation. Somehow, it feels like there is bass guitar present, but it could be the bass end of the piano. However you slice it, though, this music rocks and is also very progressive in nature. It’s unique and captivating. You never feel like anything is missing here. This is a great set that will leave listeners anxiously awaiting more from Sit Kitty Sit. There are many references to classic progressive rock artists here, but it’s also quite new.

Track by Track Review

Purge
A rather classically based piano sound is combined with a driving rock rhythm section. This serves as the backdrop for the vocals. It’s a combination that has some jazz built into it, but also reminds me quite a bit of something Renaissance might have done, if they rocked out a bit more. There’s a jarring screaming section at the end.

In the Morning
In many ways, the music that serves as the backdrop here has an Emerson, Lake and Palmer kind of texture. The vocals bring a more artsy air, like performance art. It’s a great combination.

Out of Style
The piano that drives this is very classical in nature. The vocals are more gentle early on than those heard on the previous pieces. In some ways, the vocal performance here calls to mind Tori Amos. The song rocks out a lot more as it carries on, but then drops back to just piano mid-track for a reprise of the earlier sections.

Raven
The piano that opens this really calls to mind Tori Amos. As it builds it’s dramatic and powerful. The cut gets powered out, but also drops back to a gentle and dramatic piano based section. It’s another that’s just plain awesome. It’s also another where references to Renaissance would be warranted.

The Push
There’s a spoken introduction here. The cut pounds out into a frantic jam that’s very aggressive and rather RIO-like. It’s got a real rocking sound and has some hints of Tori Amos on show. There is a punk rock, or perhaps post punk element here along with some jazz.